Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Vitex payos - (Lour.) Merr.

Common Name Chocolate Berry
Family Lamiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open woodland, wooded grassland and on rocky outcrops at elevations from 50 - 1,500 metres[308 ]
Range Tropical Africa - DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Vitex payos Chocolate Berry


Vitex payos Chocolate Berry

 

Translate this page:

Summary

Chocolate Berry, Vitex payos, is a shrub or small tree with a rounded crown and grows up to 10 m in height. It is commonly grown in tropical Africa. The chocolate brown or black fruits are sweet and edible. It can be eaten raw or cooked, or made into jams. Medicinally, the plant is used for stomach ailments, threadworm, skin problems, and loss of appetite. Fallen leaves are used as a mulch. The wood is very hard and suitable as poles and spoons. It is also used for fuel.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Vitex payos is a TREE growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Allasia payos Lour. Vitex allasia Planch. Vitex eylesii S.Moore Vitex hildebrandtii Vatke Vitex irin

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[308 , 323 ]. Sweet, with a mealy texture[303 ]. It can be made into jam[323 ]. Each fruit is about 2 cm long, with pointed tips and a chocolate brown or black skin. The juicy pulp surrounds a single hard stone. A very popular fruit in parts of Africa, it is definitely an acquired taste for people who have not eaten it previously. Westerners are typically offended by the flavour, the powdery texture, the oily feel in the mouth, and the strong smell323]. The fruits have a rather unpleasant smell, and leave a temporary black stain on the teeth, but they are much eaten by children and herdsmen[398 ].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


A decoction of the root is used as a remedy for stomach problems[398 ]. The pounded bark is used to treat threadworm and skin problems[398 ]. The leaves are boiled and the liquid drunk by patients who have lost their appetite[398 ].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The leaf fall of the tree acts as a mulch to improve soil condition[303 ]. Other Uses The wood is very hard. It is used for poles and spoons[398 ]. The wood is used for fuel[303 , 398 ].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Vitex payos is a species of the tropics, growing in hot, low and semi-arid places with a high water table. In more arid zones it is found near rock outcrops. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 650 - 850 metres[303 ]. The tree coppices well[303 ].

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

Propagation

Seed - it has a hard seed coat which hinders germination[303 ]. In the wild the seedcoat is broken by annual fires[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Anhongore, Azeitona-pequeno, Azeitona, Budeg keboke, Bugua, Bume-aincaobe, Bume, Cetona-pequena, Cetona, Ekarukei, Ewelu, Intompinha, Koro, Kukukunkuri, Kuo, Mangua, Muni, Murukukwe, N'ssogorro, Odoandri, Oyelo gwok, Oyelu, Oywelo too,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Angola; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe, Africa, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, North Africa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Africa, Sudan, Uganda, West Africa.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Vitex agnus-castusAgnus Castus, Lilac chastetree, Vitex, ChastetreeShrub3.0 7-9 MLMNDM253
Vitex cannabifolia Shrub3.0 -  LMNDM02 
Vitex donianaBlack PlumTree15.0 10-12 MLMHSNM434
Vitex keniensisFulu, Mkombachiko, MufuuTree25.0 10-12 FLMNM204
Vitex madiensisEkarukei, MurukukweTree4.0 10-12 MLMHNM423
Vitex negundoHuang Ping, Chinese chastetree, Cut Leaf Vitex, Cut-leaf ChastetreeShrub3.0 6-9 MLMNDM23 
Vitex pinnataKelebanTree20.0 10-12 MLMHNDM024

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

(Lour.) Merr.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Vitex payos  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.